Do you know how to play the piano? Do you take music lessons to learn to play a musical instrument? In the 1800s, wealthy children often learned to play musical instruments or sing. If company came to visit, the children could entertain guests with their talent.
Children, especially young ladies, would have learned how to play the piano or violin, as well as to sing. A young lady would be invited to perform at parties for her friends and her parents’ friends! She would need to practice a lot to be able to perform well! Do you practice your music lessons every day? How about when you know you will have a concert or recital?
In the late 1800s, people liked to have music parties called “musicales”. A family would invite friends to come over for an afternoon or evening of music. The family members could play or sing and guests would also perform. The family would also serve snacks or desserts.
You could give a musicale at your house too! Practice a favorite song or two on the piano or practice singing your favorite song. Then invite your family or some friends to come over for a concert! You could have cookies or ice cream and show off your musical talent! Everyone could also sing together!
At the Flynn House at Living History Farms, our guides have been practicing their piano skills this week! We are going to have a musicale on Saturday, July 26 from 1 pm to 3 pm. We hope to have lots of visitors join us in the parlor to listen to the music and maybe sing along to some of well-known songs of the time. We’ve been practicing tunes like “Yankee Doodle”, “Oh, Susannah”, and “Beautiful Dreamer.”
In the front parlor at the Flynn Mansion, we have a beautiful square grand piano that was made by the Chickering Company of Boston in 1871. This piano has 85 keys on the keyboard instead of 88 keys like other pianos. It is sometimes called a “box piano” because it is shaped like a large rectangle. The strings run from left to right instead of up and down like a modern piano. These pianos were very popular in the United States between 1850 and 1900, and cost from $475 to $1200 at that time.
We hope you’ll stop by the Flynn House to sing with us at our musical afternoon on July 26. If you know how to play a tune, we’ll invite you to play the piano, too!